Denver-based Stem Ciders is building a $7 million restaurant, taproom and production facility on a bucolic four-acre plot in Lafayette in this year.

Stem Ciders, which will continue operations at the RiNo taproom it opened in 2014, broke ground last week on its slated two-story, 30,000-square-foot facility.

The company purchased roughly 8 acres for $500,000 at 1380 Horizon Ave. – a site that comes equipped with a view of the Front Range – earlier this year, according to Stem Ciders spokesperson Courtney O’Rourke.

According to Lafayette City Council documents, city officials threw together an incentive package for the cidery in the shape of permit fee waivers and $183,250 in tax rebates.

“(Stem) was a desirable enhancement to our other breweries and other unique eateries,” Lafayette spokesperson Debbie Wilmot said. “We wanted to offer something a little more unique.”

Started by Erie Foster and Philip Kao in 2013, Stem Ciders opened its Denver cider house in January 2014 – first distributing kegs to Denver area companies before their bottled cider operation opened in 2015.

“Business is certainly good,” O’Rourke said. “It’s been a two-year search that came after we grew out of our space almost immediately.”

The business brewed 7,500 barrels of cider last Mobilbahis year.

“We’ve seen more dynamism from local small players (in the craft industry),” Brewers Association Chief Economist Bart Watson said Tuesday. “While overall (craft brewing) has struggled in 2016, there’s more opportunities for smaller artisanal producers.

“We’re seeing it in beer right now too,” he added. “Besides brand recogniztionn, a lot of what people come for is customer experience. That’s a big part of what’s driving the growth in cideries right now.”

Roughly 16 hard cider companies currently operate in Colorado, according to Rachel Cohen of Boom Properties, including Old Mine Cidery and Brewpub in Erie and St. Vrain Cidery slated to open this May in Longmont.

Stem’s need to expand became more pressing this August, when the company announced a deal to distribute its ciders across the state through Aurora-based Breakthru Beverage, according to O’Rourke.

Stem will have 15,000 square feet for its offices and production space on the ground floor, according to site plans, with another 5,000 square feet on the second floor to house the taproom and restaurant.

The company also plans to have a retail space to sell packaged ciders and merchandise.

O’Rourke said the company is planning to hire five additional production staff and to hire as many as 20 restaurant employees at the new site.

Though it is the city’s first cidery, the operation will join several other craft breweries in Lafayette, including Front Range Brewery, Liquid Mechanics, The Post, Odd13 Brewing, and the recently opened Uturn BBQ.

Anthony Hahn: 303-473-1422, or

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